Do you know the worst thing about recovering from a heart attack?
No, it’s not the gazillion dollars this is going to cost me. This is America, so any health issue comes with financial punishment — even if you have the legalized extortion known as private health insurance. It’s not even the months ahead full of letters from the extortionists explaining that they don’t pay for heart stents installed on Fridays.
It’s not even the fact that eating is somewhat less enjoyable. I knew I’d have to cut back on sodium, caffeine, cholesterol and taste. Every now and then I get to splurge and have some tasty cardboard with dash of air and perhaps some water if I’m feeling sporty. It’s like reading a memo from Devin Nunes — you have to keep telling yourself there’s some really good stuff in here until you start to almost believe it.
Actually, the worst thing in the wake of this heart mess is that everyone wants me to take it easy. I only missed two days of work because I have a home office which is equipped with pretty much every necessity I have at the work office — namely a computer and a coffee pot. (Don’t worry: It’s filled with decaffeinated coffee, and I pretend it gives me a jolt of energy, just like I pretend to like cardboard when sprinkled with a little Mrs. Dash.) So, I worked from home all last week. That was fine.
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But everyone wants me to take it easy. I’m in zero pain, and my blood is actually flowing straight through my heart rather than taking a break for a cheeseburger between heartbeats. Yet, I haven’t set foot in the gym yet because, well, my wife won’t let me.
This is a woman who has ruined 24 hours of would-be happiness for me many times by announcing a day in advance, “We’re going to the gym tomorrow.” I’ve never liked going to the gym. I despise thinking about it, and I hate it while I’m there. And the euphoria and sense of accomplishment I get from the gym is shorter-lived than moments of bipartisanship in D.C.
Before I had a heart attack, she had to drag me to the gym, and I had to come up with a really good excuse to chill out or take a nap — such as, “Honey, I think my liver just ate my kidney.”
“Well, you can lie down for 10 minutes, but then we’re going to the gym. We can paint the cabinets tomorrow.”
Now, though, the woman suddenly has an appreciation for rest. I’d appreciated it for decades, so I’m glad she’s finally catching on. However, now I want to go to the gym. I want to get out of the house. I might even want to dig holes for those fences she wants to put up between us and the empty lots on each side of our house.
(Why build a fence between us and empty lots where I look there and see just beautiful trees? It’s because she looks there and has a premonition of yappy dog-owning, talkative neighbors whose cigarette smoke drifts into our yard while they shoot squirrels and robins with an assault rifle from their patio — a right enshrined by our founding fathers, of course.)
Basically, I just want to get back to my normal abnormal self. I don’t like folks worrying about me unless they’re paid to — like the heart surgeon who keeps calling to ask how I’m going and if we’ve seen his keys. I want to go to the gym, play golf and tennis and grill some cardboard like other 47-year-old boys.
Yes, if I wore the pants in my family, it’d all be moot and I could do what I wanted. And if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his backside every time he jumped.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure that soon that my wife will relent and let me go the gym and get back to normal activities.
I’m also sure that’s when I’m going to feel the need for a nap coming on.
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